What Is MindBody Psychotherapy?
MindBody psychotherapy adds the wisdom of the body to the traditional techniques of talk therapy, which focus on thoughts and feelings.
The Wisdom of the Body
Wisdom of the body means that you "know" things in other than purely cognitive ways. You experience emotion in your body – grief is often felt as a weight on the chest, fear as constriction in the throat, anger may be experienced as seeing red. Expanding the awareness of your felt experience allows unprocessed emotional experience to be worked through.
The mindbody psychotherapist may ask you to check in with your bodily experience; to scan your body for subtle sensations of which you may be unaware. Butterflies in the stomach, when observed, can transform from vague feelings of unease to an emotion that can be named, described, and understood. "Oh, I'm feeling anxious, maybe about that big deadline coming up." One goal of mindbody psychotherapy is the integration of thought, feeling, and bodily experience for a more complete sense of self-in-the-moment. This integration is sometimes referred to as a sense of wholeness.
Resources for Healing
Your body possesses resources for healing, self-soothing, and emotional regulation that a focus on the mind alone cannot provide. Taking a few deep breaths is a well-known way to calm yourself. Cardiovascular exercise is an effective antidote to the toxic effects of too much stress. Meditation has for millennia been valued as a reliable path to integration and a sense of well-being. Practicing disciplines such as yoga and tai chi reward the practitioner with a sense of relaxation, centeredness, and balance.
MindBody psychotherapy offers a supportive way to process painful emotions and trauma by utilizing the resources of the body to feel, hold, and release these experiences. The therapist creates a safe space of support, inviting relaxation and calm by encouraging you to focus on your breath. Gestalt therapy offers a transformative integration of body awareness and emotional experience in the present moment.
In recent decades scientific research is confirming many of these benefits practitioners have known through their experience. The field of neurobiology, which studies the basic organization of the nervous system, and the newer field of psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the body, are providing basic research which illuminates how the body's "wisdom" functions.
Sandi's training and experience equip her to help her clients tap into the body's wisdom for integration, healing, and wellbeing. In addition to her psychotherapy training she has drawn on other disciplines to create her unique bodymind approach. She has broad experience with Iyengar yoga and holds the E-RYT certification as an experienced yoga teacher. She trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn to learn his highly effective and extensively researched program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. A longtime meditator, she is practiced at helping her clients use intentional breathing practices to regulate emotion, soothe stress, and find peace in stillness. Her study of Tantra, a meditative approach to sexuality, enables her to support her clients' explorations towards a more mindful and relaxed experience of sexual connection with their partners.